I know what you’re thinking. I know you’re sitting there all, “Seriously? Another pumpkin recipe? Isn’t this girl aware that there are other flavors that deserve a spotlight during the holidays?”
Yes, this girl is aware. But come on now, everyone likes pumpkin. There is the ubiquitous pumpkin pie, the omnipresent pumpkin muffin, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin lasagna, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bundt cake, the pumpkin cupcake… I could go on for pages but I’ll resist. Point is, there is a reason for it. Pumpkin is delicious.
The wonderful thing about baking with pumpkin is that it is a natural moistening agent. This allows you to cut fat pretty easily, and still wind up with a tender, soft crumb. Other ingredients that serve this purpose are carrots, zucchini, and bananas. No surprise they all have found their way into the baked good spotlight. My rule is always that I will make something more nutritious if and only if it maintains the integrity of the intended result. I will not eat a dry, stiff piece of pumpkin bread because it is good for me. I would rather indulge and then account for it later in the day. Fortunately, neither is necessary with this recipe.This bread is incredibly moist, hearty, and full of flavor. It is as delicious as it is healthy. I’ve replaced some of the oil with applesauce, cut out granulated sugar and replaced it with a reduced amount of deep, dark maple syrup and brown sugar. I plumped up cranberries to lend an extra tart/sweet bite and that ruby red color. I’ve added extra spices like ginger and cardamom, and used all gluten-free flour. The blend I use is called Cup-4-Cup and it is the best out there. It can be found at Williams-Sonoma, and while it’s pricey, it yields a lot and will enable you to make almost anything gluten-free with ease. Other good blends are Bob’s Red Mill, or King Arthur, and they are sold at Whole Foods or your local grocery store.
After numerous trials I ended up with a delicious and festive breakfast bread with no gluten, little sugar, and little fat. This would be great served to your health-conscious friends, and husbands and children alike, as no one that has tasted it can believe I’ve made such substitutions. In fact, this would be a wonderful post-Thanksgiving breakfast to serve to your family.
During this holiday, along with delicious food, drinking, and laughter, let a smart breakfast be something that binds you. Contrary to popular belief, there is no steadfast rule that naps must be lengthy and pants must be unzipped.
This needn’t be the year of “No Couch Left Behind.”
Gluten Free Pumpkin-Cranberry Spice Bread: Inviting Health to the Holiday
Yield: 2 Loaves
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
3 ½ cups gluten-free flour blend (I use C4C, found at Williams-Sonoma)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried cranberries, covered by hot water and plumped for 30 minutes
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 2 loaf pans with non-stick spray and set aside.
In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, cook pumpkin and spices until steamy. Continue to cook, stirring, until pumpkin starts to stiffen and pull away from sides of the pan, 3-5 minutes.
Transfer pumpkin to a large bowl, whisk in water, then sugars, then oil, and then eggs. Whisk until smooth.
In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
Fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until combined and relatively smooth. The batter can be a bit lumpy. Fold in the cranberries.
Scrape batter into the 2 loaf pans and bake until golden brown and cooked through, 50-60 minutes.